Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Happy Dance Resumed

Yes, the news is officially out now, so I can blow my own trumpet (again). And also explain why I'm trying so hard to lose enough weight to get into my kilt. My novel Natural Causes, born out of a short story I had published in the Fall edition of Spinetingler last year, has been shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award.

Congratulations to all the other shortlisted writers. I hope none of you win. I was staggered when I learnt about it over a month ago, and it still gives me a little thrill to see my name up there. Hopefully the publishers who have spent so many years pouring scorn and indifference on my fantasy and SF writing will now take a bit more notice. I'd keep my fingers crossed, but it makes typing quite hard.

Anyway, the awards dinner is in London on July 5th, and I've booked my ticket. The invitation says 'Black Tie Preferred,' which means I have to wear my kilt - none of this lounge suit nonsense I'll have you know. Actually it means I have to wear my evening kilt,* the one in the dress tartan that goes with the Montrose jacket and the diced stockings, but let's not get too technical here.

My evening kilt was made for me when I was in my early twenties, an age to which I can no longer lay claim. And whilst I consider myself trim, the years have seen a bit of spread - let's not call it fat so much as repositioning. Gone are the days when I needed a belt to keep my 28 inch waist trousers up. Indeed, gone are my 28 inch waist trousers - well those baggy cords were never really very fashionable anyway. Elastic waistbands are so much more civilised. The last time I wore my evening kilt it was a touch on the tight side, and I am a teensy bit heavier than I was then.

So, since learning of my shortlisting, I have been trying to row back the years a little. Mostly this has involved an embargo on weekend Martinis, the use of kitchen scales to more accurately gauge portion sizes at mealtimes, and a return to the running regime that I had sadly allowed to let slip (a bit like my chest, as Obelix would say) over the past few months.

Something must be going right. Amoebic dysentery aside, I've managed to shed ten pounds in a little over a month. Sadly there's now a little under a month to go until the big day. I could really do with more.

* I have a day kilt too, in green rather than the red of the dress tartan. This is for more casual occasions, and was made for me when I was still a teenager. It fits, if anything, even worse than the evening one.

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Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Congratulations, again James. And you know, I wondered why you guys would wear kilts. Preferable to a suit? Geez. I'd just wear a t-shirt and jeans and pull an Omar. (If you've seen The Wire, you know how he wears a tie.)

June 07, 2007 12:49 am  
Blogger JamesO said...

We have to maintain certain standards, Sandra. And if it says 'black tie,' then I either have to find my dinner jacket (tuxedo), which I haven't worn since I was sixteen, or get into my kilt.

And besides, it's a great ice-breaker and conversational point, which should be handy at a party where I know absolutely no-one. Also the ladies get to fondle my sporran - it's made from rabbit fur, don't you know.

June 07, 2007 10:58 am  
Blogger Vincent said...

My one experience of wearing a kilt means I'd check the venue for air conditioning. Well ventilated they may be, cool and breezy round the nether regions they aren't.

Still, congratulations again and I can say that knowing it won't get yoiked off this time. But I know what it's like, I'm still trying to keep my impending Nobel peace prize a secret.

June 07, 2007 1:33 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Whatever anyone fondles, I don't need to hear about it!

June 07, 2007 5:13 pm  
Blogger angie said...

Um...fondling? My pristine mind shudders.

Congrats again! And I second your wish that you snatch the win from your competitors.

June 07, 2007 5:23 pm  
Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

Well done Mr James!

I too am glad that you're going to be suffering your way into a kilt. That'll teach you ;}#

June 08, 2007 10:42 am  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...


I hope you'll fit into that kilt - men in kilts are hot. *grin*

June 11, 2007 4:34 pm  

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